Feeling the end of the holidays

Today is the final day of our holiday week (really ten days) at home together as a family, and I’m feeling a bit sad about it. Another mom in my Facebook mom group mentioned recently that she’d foolishly forgotten how un-relaxing it is to have a vacation at home with three children, and while I don’t disagree, I really love having this time with them and wouldn’t trade it. Kristin is off for two weeks in this school district, so she actually has this whole week off as well (so I imagine she will get some recuperation time) and I took tomorrow off so that she and I could have one day together, but the kids return to school tomorrow. Their school was actually open for most of last week, so we could have sent them Tuesday through Friday if we’d chosen to. We knew that we would pay for the days either way, but we chose to keep them home because we both remembered the excitement of holiday breaks at home with family, and wanted to share that with them.

Originally we’d planned to get out of the house a whole lot more than we did, but never-ending illness really put a crimp in our intentions (I can’t call them plans really, since we only talked about all of the places we might go). The pink eye that showed up on Christmas day made its way through the house until we ended up at urgent care on New Year’s day. The cold that we all had a couple of weeks ago seemed to return for both K and I, and in spurts for the kids, and I ended up with a painful ear infection that almost had me driving myself to the ER on NYE. As a result, we ended up with almost zero social interactions, save for a couple of drop-bys earlier in the week, and we decided that it was best to quarantine ourselves at home for the most part. Thankfully the kids had new toys to amuse themselves, and there’s always the bounce house in the great room to burn off some energy. While a part of me wishes that we’d done more novel things, another part of me knows that sometimes all the kids want is to play at home and have our attention.

This morning I checked the weather and told Kristin that we really ought to get outside in the morning because it was going to rain in the afternoon, and suggested a walk at The Nature Center. We got everyone dressed and headed out (a pretty significant drive considering it’s Kalamazoo) only to realize when we arrived that we’d forgotten to bring the twins’ coats. Since we don’t let the kids wear puffy coats in their car seats, it’s actually somewhat astonishing that this is the first time we’ve forgotten them. I was super bummed, but K was optimistic and felt that we’d dressed them warm enough (since they were both layered on top and had snowpants on the bottom) to give it a go. We gave them our scarves and off we went.

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It wasn’t a long hike, but we foolishly failed to consider the fact that Jonah had a crappy breakfast of two orange rolls and nothing else (our kids are all huge breakfast eaters, but Jonah slept late and then we decided to head out without a more significant meal) and was probably starving by the time we got going. He cried and yelled almost the entire walk, and I can’t even remember why at this point. The photo above was pre-meltdown.

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I think that one of the reasons I find this post-holiday period to be so emotionally challenging is because I spend so much time looking forward to Christmas, and when it’s over there are fewer traditions to fall back on and just a lot of cold, grey weather and the usual grind. I usually get through the transition by finding something else to look forward to on the horizon, and much of the time that’s some sort of spring break trip. This year we’re planning to drive down to Charleston to visit my parents and my sister and brother and law and their kids, and I love seeing the cousins together so I’m certainly looking forward to that. I don’t want to give up on the months in between like I may have in the past, however. I’m curious to know what others do in order to get through the winter once the holidays have passed.

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